"My Perspective" by Hopewell's newest Board member Charlie Carter

 As a new Board member with Hopewell, and a relatively recent arrival in Ottawa, I look at Hopewell from an outsider’s perspective in multiple ways. I have never suffered from an eating disorder, nor needed to support someone really close to me who was coping with an eating disorder. I don’t endure a daily barrage of expectations through the media about artificial norms for appearance. I am removed from the challenges that Hopewell’s staff encounters every day, both in terms of administering a small non-profit and engaging with and helping clients. Those are stories that I can’t fully grasp, because I haven’t lived them.

Although eating disorders haven’t touched me personally, Hopewell has a quality that resonates and appeals. It is an underdog – a shoestring organization filling a gap in the system of care for people suffering from a mental health disorder. It is small but it leverages many connections with other organizations and people in the city. By collaborating effectively Hopewell achieves much more than what a single agency could. And most importantly, it has a community of volunteers who make the wheels of business run, from fundraising to answering phones to supporting one each other and clients and bringing information to the community.

I was drawn to Hopewell because it represents work that is essential in Ottawa, and it represents the type of organization that is central to the safety net that fills the failures of our healthcare system. A complete system of care – and I include mental health as a part of all health – should provide robust supports for prevention and support, not just intervention. Yet Hopewell is the only community based support organization that addresses eating disorders in Eastern Ontario. Hopewell is small but it is many voices, and many voices do make a difference. I invite those  who feel they can contribute in some way  to add their voice and support Hopewell. Please help make a difference by considering a donation,  giving some of your time and skills,  or by telling others  about Hopewell.

Charlie works in the field of child and youth mental health and brings experience in research and organizational considerations when implementing evidence-based practice.